Delorean Time Machine: 7th and Girard

We love Tiffin. Whenever we’re jonesing for Indian food, we make the hike to 710 W Girard Ave. to enjoy some of the best Philadelphia has to offer. Regrettably, our enthusiasm for delicious dinner is often tempered somewhat by the depressed blocks that surround the restaurant, with shuttered storefronts and crumbling facades.

Storefront at 700 W. Girard Ave. Tiffin is a few doors down.
The 600 block, on the north side

The last time we were over there, we took a look around and found ourselves wondering what the area looked like once upon a time. We were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of images on Philaplace.org.

700 W Girard Ave. The Ambassador Dairy Restaurant

This building has been totally decimated, losing its third story and its bay windows. Oh, and the storefront has been boarded up, along with all the windows.

The 600 block in 1961, from Phillyhistory.org
The same block, just a few years later. From Philaplace.org

The easiest building to identify current houses Fine Fare, and previously was used as a theater. It has, according to the second photo above, been a grocery for decades. Unfortunately, the facade has undergone a complete whitewashing, with all of the wonderful details completely removed.

The property immediately to the east, formerly Avenue Bar, now blends in seamlessly with the stuccoed buildings next door. The nearly-completely-demolished building just to the west of Fine Fare once held a bakery and an accounting firm.

In the years since Tiffin opened, we’ve hoped that it would help bring up the surrounding area- a wish that hasn’t come true just yet. Who knows, perhaps if a supermarket ends up opening a couple of blocks to the west, that may be the project that finally activates this section of Girard Ave.

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